As one would expect, caregiving can be both challenging and rewarding for everyone involved: the loved one who needs assistance and all of the friends and family members. They may experience positive, negative, or both positive and negative effects from caring for people with high care needs.
On the bright side, taking care of a loved one in any form can help build confidence, connections, and stronger bonds in general. It can make you feel closer to a relative or friend. It can give you a purpose, it can make you find appreciation, and it can teach you a new set of skills and ways of coping that could come in really handy for you or a loved one in the future. These are tools that could become helpful as we grow older. It could also fulfill our desire to help and make us feel grateful or honored to be able to do so.
On the downside, your life or the life of your loved one may have changed drastically and negatively from what it was before caregiving was necessary. Depending on the situation, the person receiving care may still be able to participate in activities and socialize with the people close to them. But in order to make that happen, certain accommodations need to be made. The key lies in communicating with loved ones and adapting to the reality of the current situation whenever possible.
As a society, we have always depended on families to provide any type of support and to assist their older parents, grandparents, and other family members when they can no longer function independently. When a parent, spouse, or any other type of relative falls ill, most of the time our first instinct is to take care of them. After all, we love them and want what’s best for them, but interactions with family members and friends can become really complicated in this situation, and conflict can sometimes arise among caregivers, mostly the ones who live near the care receiver.
There are a large number of obstacles that could create conflict between friends and family members. For example, friends and family often have unrealistic expectations for the care receiver. Sometimes they may find themselves disappointed when their loved one can’t participate in the kinds of activities they used to enjoy. They might not understand their limitations, misunderstand the whole situation, or even blame the people around them for not “putting in the effort” to help them participate in social events or other activities.
Sometimes people may expect the closest friends and family members to juggle many hours filled with mental, emotional, physical, and financial stress without complaining or receiving help. This is often not because they do not care, but because of poor communication or a lack of understanding about the amount of work involved in these types of situations. It’s just as important to recognize when it’s time to cut ties as it is to hold on to the people who respond to your situation with empathy and understanding.
When being a primary caregiver, you will have to deal with relatively high rates of exhaustion, stress, being overwhelmed, subsequent health problems, isolation, fatigue, and frustration, sometimes leading to a sense of helplessness and exhaustion (caregiver burnout). Everyone has different expectations for the challenges that a caregiving role might bring, such as the difficulty of managing a loved one’s medical needs or transporting them to appointments and day services.
There are social impacts for primary caregivers as well. Dealing with changes to relationship dynamics, such as tensions that arise among siblings in a caregiving setting, or adjusting expectations for family gatherings during the holidays, are a few ways in which caregiving goes beyond helping a loved one with health and wellness at home.
That is why it is really important to be very empathic with everyone involved at all times. Some people may not understand all of the issues. Those who live at a distance can help by making regular contact to find out what they can do and by offering to visit the care receiver or pay for respite for the caregiver. Families need to remember to keep communication open, allowing everyone involved to have a part in the decision-making process. Those who are not serving as primary caregivers should be aware that caregiving can be stressful, and they should do as much as they can to help reduce the workload.
It’s important to make these changes so all family members can be involved in caregiving. But there are a couple of reasons that could prevent caregivers from reaching out to those around them for help. Sometimes, it’s a lack of trust that any other person would be able to help when caregiving becomes difficult. Some caregivers feel guilty at the thought of asking for help from friends and family.
Suggestions for Friends and Family members
- When possible, involve the care receiver or provide an opportunity for them to express their preferences.
- Ask each friend or family member to voice concerns and try to make sure all concerns are addressed.
- Ask friends and family members to list tasks they are willing to do to help.
- Don’t assume that the closest family members have everything under control. Sometimes others are often under the impression that they don’t need any assistance, even if they feel completely overwhelmed in reality.
- Always prioritize your own mental health and well-being, otherwise, you won’t be able to help others.
- Don’t judge. We might not know exactly what the other person is going through. The best thing we can do is listen.
Is taking care of your loved one’s physical, emotional, and financial needs best for you and your relationship?
Well, that depends. It’s different with each situation, but it is known that taking care of your loved one in any form when done correctly, will help you build a much stronger relationship and sense of gratitude. We know that sometimes having a good relationship with care-receiving loved ones can be extremely difficult for countless reasons. Having a professional home health service could also be really helpful in improving your relationships by taking care of the hardest parts of the caregiving process. This will have a positive impact on the care receiver’s health, time, and overall well-being. Therefore, it will have a positive impact on every person around them as well, allowing them to improve the quality of their relationships.
Contact us for a free in-home consultation to learn more about the options for your unique needs at 786-518-3622 Miami-Dade or 954-949-1332 Broward.
Our team is available to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. At 24/7 Nursing Care, we believe that your family is our family.